Martinsburg, MD Speech, 1896-09-30

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Wednesday, September 30, 1896
Depot, Martinsburg, MD

Source: [[Illegible]] , [[Illegible]] Explains Position of the Common People in the Campaign, Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Thursday, October 1, 1896

"In a platform many questions are covered, but the election always turns upon some paramount issue and in this campaign we have declared that the money question is the paramount issue. If there are other things in which you believe the settlement of those things can be postponed until after we have met and passed the crisis presented by the advocates of the gold standard. Our opponents, not we, are responsible for the fact that in this campaign we are engaged in a battle royal between the money power and the common people. These contests are always brought about by the aggression of those who seek to use the government as a means of private gain."


"All the great questions which have from time to time been forced upon the public have been forced, not by the many, but by the few, and the struggles have occupied the thoughts of the people of the new world have been the struggles made by them in self-defense. And so in this campaign the hosts are being marshaled to resist the aggression of the gold standard.

...I were to tell you that a foreign army was coming to attack us or that a foreign navy was anchored at our g[[illegible]], I could expect every one of you to join in an effort to protect your country from invasion. I announce to you that a foreign financial policy has not only invaded our country, but it has gained a foothold here, and a great national party, the republican party, has declared that the foreign policy shall remain here until foreigners themselves shall consent to its retirement. (Applause.) The gold standard idea is an imported idea (applause) and, my friends, I care not whether you attempt to restrain it by a high tariff or a low tariff, I shall not be content until it shall be driven back and find no more a home in our midst." (Applause.)


"This contest upon which we are entered is not a temporary fight. Some of our Democratic friends who have worked with us in the past tell us that in this campaign they will either work with the Republicans or stop half way between our ranks and the Republican ranks until they summon enough courage to go to the other half and declare themselves Republicans. (Applause.) I want them to go understanding that they go never to return until they come back in sack cloth and ashes. (Great applause.) If these men who have ga[[illegible]] their greatness through the ho[[illegible]] given them by the Democratic party have an idea that they can [[illegible]]n-ra[[illegible]] the face of the enemy and then be [[illegible]] back to take command hereafter they are making a mistake, the greatness of which will increase as the time goes on. (Applause.) This is no temporary disagreement. Those who leave the Democratic party today, leave Democracy and can never excuse themselves hereafter." (Great applause.)"

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 6
  • Date: September 30, 1896